There are still 22 shopping days until Christmas for all you procrastinators, but the Dallas Stars will likely be getting some of their presents early this year.
Three of the players who have missed the past several games - Trevor Daley, Alex Goligoski and Brenden Morrow - are expected to play sometime during the Stars upcoming five-game road trip, coach Glen Gulutzan said at Friday's practice.
Goligoski has been out the longest of that group while nursing a broken thumb. His cast was scheduled to come off Friday, and from there, it's a matter of figuring out secondary protection and getting enough grip back in the hand.
Trevor Daley is out with a back injury, and according to Steve Ott on BaD Radio, he skated on Friday. Morrow is nursing some chronic back problems, and Ott said he is scheduled to skate today.
Reinforcements. Huzzah. We knew it was only a matter of time, but it is still nice to get a clearer timeline.
Michael Ryder, Sheldon Souray and Vernon Fiddler missed Friday's practice for "maintenance days." Fiddler seems to block a shot and leave in some serious pain at least once a game, so a day off for him is well deserved.
After the jump, a look at today's game against the New York Islanders, Eric Nystrom's family ties episode and the best power rankings you'll see this week.
- Of particular note for today's game is the story of Eric Nystrom. Not only is he playing out of his mind at the moment, and therefore has chosen to keep the handlebar mustache until it runs out of luck, but his father Bobby Nystrom was a big part of the Islanders Cup dynasty in the early 1980s.This paywalled article talks about his growing up in hockey. [DallasNews.com]
- Nystrom, of course, is part of the third line that has provided the majority of the Stars offense recently along with Fiddler and Radek Dvorak. Mark Stepneski discusses just how awesome they have been. [ESPN Dallas]
- My internet is being a brat early Saturday morning and not actually letting me read this article, but the headline promises it's about how young defenseman Philip Larsen is making a push to stay with the big team even once everyone gets healthy. [Fox Sports Southwest]
- What does an injured player do while all the healthy guys practice? If you play for Gulutzan, lots of team meetings and film study. [DallasNews.com]
- Bob Sturm will be back on color duty tonight as Razor abandons us for those annoying Edmonton Oilers and Hockey Night in Canada. Here's Sturm's semi-regular column on the team, this time discussing about how they're trying to become relevant to the average DFW sports fan again. [Fox Sports Southwest]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: For all the Ottawa Senators fans who complained about being bored during Thursday's game: If you're looking for excitement, check out the Islanders 5-4 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. [Lighthouse Hockey]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: The Islanders forced the Hawks into playing "ugly" hockey. Maybe that tired them out for today's game? Subscription-only. [Chicago Daily Herald]
- Around the Pacific Division: Bruce Boudreau got really, really close to getting his first victory as Anaheim Ducks coach, but the Philadelphia Flyers scored four unanswered goals, including a Claude Giroux overtime winner, to take the 4-3 overtime win. How about not letting them do that instead of whining about the officiating, Teemu Selanne. [Los Angeles Times]
- I've ranted about my issues with power rankings before, but this group from our friends at Hockey Wilderness is a must read. I think you'll find yourself a very well informed hockey fan after this one. [Hockey Wilderness]
- The stache is still awesome, and I'm glad it's sticking around for the time being.